SHELTON — Shelton schools continue to be affected by rising numbers of positive COVID-19 tests, with the latest blow coming from school transportation.

Five bus drivers are being quarantined, so the school district was two buses short in its morning run Friday.

The schools impacted were Elizabeth Shelton School and Booth Hill School, said interim Superintendent Beth Smith, and parents of students on those buses were asked to drive their children to school Friday and pick them up.

“If parents of children on those two buses are unable to do so,” Smith said, “we have asked them to call their child's school's office and have them distance learn today, with no attendance penalty.”

Shelton Student Transportation Services head Ken Nappi said the two buses will be “back on the road Monday.”

Nappi said the five quarantined drivers did not test positive for COVID-19 but, through contact tracing, were found to have possibly come into contact with someone who was infected.

The city-run bus company is down 10 drivers, according to Nappi, with another five drivers out for reasons not related to COVID-19. Nappi said the company is using four spare drivers and two managers to help cover the routes.

“The staff is doing a great job,” Nappi said.

Smith said Shelton Student Transportation Services has attempted to hire additional drivers and has asked other companies to provide the district with drivers and buses with little success.

“Due to the pandemic, companies do not want their drivers driving outside their areas,” Smith said. “In addition, it has been difficult to hire additional drivers. Currently, the managers at the bus yard are driving to fill in.”

Along with bus drivers, the district also has 40 teachers out on quarantine, Smith said, one of the reasons grades 5 to 12 will not be combining cohorts, as happened in grades pre-K to 4 earlier this week.

“Thirty-eight are related to the positive cases of COVID-19 in our schools,” Smith said of the staff quarantines. “Two of the staff quarantine cases were from contact outside of school. We are trying to keep our schools open under these difficult circumstances.”

At Perry Hill School, where students are grouped into dyads of students and teachers, two entire dyads are being asked to go to full distance learning in order to keep the school open for the rest, Smith said.

Shelton High and Shelton Intermediate schools are both on full distance learning until Oct. 22, because there are a lack of building substitutes to fill in for quarantined teachers.

“The district is working on attempting to bring both SHS and SIS back to in-building learning, if at all possible, sooner than Oct. 22,” Smith said.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com